Max A Konneh, Press Officer, MLGRD

 In a bid to provide the necessary skills and knowledge that would enable Chiefdom functionaries work effectively in their various areas of assignment, following the declaration of the newly de-amalgamated chiefdoms by the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Ministry of Local Government has organized a two-day training programme at the Makeni City Council, Bombali District from the 4th-5th September, 2017 at the Makeni City Council, Bombali District. The programme which involved Regent Chiefs, Central Chiefdom Administrative Clerks, Chiefdom Clerks Assistant Chiefdom Administrative Clerks, Provincial Secretaries and District Officers from chiefdoms affected by the De-amalgamation process, was also attended by a cross-section of dignitaries from the public and private sectors and climaxed by interactive sessions. Declaring the ceremony opened, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Maya Moiwo Kaikai described it as “another great moment in the history of the country”, following President Ernest Bai  Koroma’s declaration of newly de-amalgamated chiefdoms in the country and  handing over of staff of office to Regent Chiefs of those chiefdoms. He assured the participants of government’s continued commitment to ensuring that issues affecting their welfare are fully addressed. He encouraged the local authorities to promote development projects in their localities and entreated them work in harmony with Provincial Secretaries, Senior District Officers, District Officers and other local administrative staff so as to promote peaceful coexistence in their chiefdoms. He described the De-amalgamation process as one of President Koroma’s biggest achievements, adding that Bill Boards showing the new map of the country has already been erected in the Head quarter towns and disclosed plans to also erect them at chiefdom level. While outlining various development projects government has successfully implemented in the country including roads, electricity and health facilities, he frowned at some ‘misguided and dishonest” Sierra Leoneans whom he said are in the habit of tarnishing government’s image. The Minister also used the occasion to admonish the chiefs to preserve their traditional and cultural norms, uphold the dignities and human rights of their subjects and refrain from using secret societies to intimidate others as well as condoning teenage pregnancy, early marriage and initiation of under-aged children into secret societies. He recalled the recent mudslide and flooding in the city that led to a huge of loss of lives and property worth millions of Leones and on behalf of government extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families as well as those deprived from performing this year’s Hajj as a result of alleged mismanagement. The Mayor of Makeni City, Sunkari Kabba Kamara while congratulating the new Regent Chiefs on their appointment, described the occasion as “a turning point in the history of the country”. The De-amalgamation process, she said “will bring government to the people, accelerate development, transparency and accountability in the country and the leadership of the Ministry of Local government for a job well done, saying that the training will let them learn more about local governance. Paramount Bai Sheborah Kassanga, entreated the newly appointed chiefs to abide by rules and regulations governing the chieftaincy institution and commended government for the initiative. Director of Local Government, Em-Kay Magba Kamara reminded participants about existing Code of Ethics and Standards of Operation for chiefs and urged them to take it very seriously as it will guide and enhance their work. The programme, he said was the right platform to address some of their concerns and admonished them to do as best as they could to live up to expectation. The Resident Minister, North, Alie Dauda Kamara, who chaired the programme, acknowledged the importance of the De-amalgamation process and training programme, noting that some chiefdoms had been denied their rights to chieftaincy for over sixty years. On behalf of his colleagues, the Regent Chief of Jahr Chiefdom, Kailahun district, Sam-May Macarthy thanked government for providing the opportunity for them to learn more about local governance. The topics, Introduction to Chiefdom Administration, Composition of Chiefdom Council were presented by the Consultant, Aiah Joseph Lebbie while the Duties and Responsibilities of Central Chiefdom Administration Clerks and other staff were presented by the CCAC, Tonkolili District, Joseph Bangura. Topics covering, Sources of chiefdom revenue, administration and management of chiefdom finances and payment of salaries, wages and stipends were presented by the CCAC of Bombali District, Samuel Turay, followed by the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Local government, Abdulai Mansaray who dealt with the roles and responsibilities of District and Provincial Secretaries and functional relationships.